Centuries later the Christian Church began to use
labyrinths as well, although they generally used an
11-circuit design, divided into four quadrants by a
cross. It was called the "Road to Jerusalem". Walking
the path was a quest in the hope of becoming closer to
God; those searching for forgiveness would walk on their
Labyrinth or Maze?
Mazes are often confused with labyrinths, but they are really quite different. A maze has twists and turns and even some blind alleys. It is puzzle requiring logical and analytical left brain tasks if you are to find the correct path.
Labyrinths have only one path...they lead you to the center and out again. They are places of great archetypal energy, places where spiritual and personal growth often occur.
The Labyrinth and Personal Growth
One traditional meaning of the labyrinth is that is is a spiritual journey into the underworld (unconscious mind) and a return to daily life. Following the path of a labyrinth represents a journey to the center of your deepest self and an eventual return to the world with a better understanding of who you are.
Rituals help. They deepen the connection to our psychological and spiritual center. Walk often. Frequent use trains the mind, making it easier to access the power of the labyrinth.
To get a sense of how this works, visit this web page for a detailed account of one person's growth experience: A Labyrinth and its Lessons
Ways to Use a Labyrinth
There are many ways to use a labyrinth. If you are fortunate to be able to travel to the sites of the famous ones such as the cathedral in Chartres, France, the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, or the San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, take advantage of the opportunity to walkthe path they offer you.
One classic ritual is the "Walk of Life" where as you walk you review the stages of your life, all the twists and turns it has taken and the lessons you have learned.
Your mood during this walking meditation is important, but it need not always be somber or reflective. It might be joyous instead. Blow bubbles as you walk, naming all the wonderful things in your life and practicing gratitude.
For more ideas, read this article:
101 Ways to Use a Labyrinth (not really 101, but plenty!)
A Goddess Labyrinth Ritual
Here is a ritual created to honor and nurture the goddess within. It follows a threefold path.